LaBryan Ray speaks like a Yellowhammer State talent that is most definitely listening to what coaches at Tennessee have to say.
On Saturday, the Scout No. 15 defensive end in the nation made his second drip to Knoxville, taking part in the invite-only Orange Carpet Day event.
“It was like a fun day,” Ray said. “So you just get to see the coaches relax and have fun, even the players too. They interact with the players a lot more.
“It was a couple of people, especially D-linemen that were talking to me about (Tennessee defensive line) coach (Steve) Stripling and just the university itself.”
The Scout No. 181 prospect in the 2017 class made the drive from the Madison, Alabama, “just to see the coaches again, talk to them, see the campus again. Just because I’m honest, I’m real interested.”
The defensive end was on hand to see eight players give Tennessee’s coaching staff their verbal commitment in less than 6 hours.
“It was definitely surprising, but I can kind of see why,” Ray said. “They just believe in their heart this is where they want to go.”
On May 2, the Clemens (Ala.) High School standout announced a top 12 that included Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC. The leadership on Rocky Top has the Vols in the mix.
“First off, the coaches, especially (quality control) coach (Walt) Wells and coach Stripling,” Ray said. “That’s definitely first. Then, just to come here and see the campus. It’s one of the top looking ones, no doubt. I mean that doesn’t hurt either.
“This is a place where I’m really interested in and I’m a place I’m really thinking about coming to.”
Travel from Madison to Knoxville is merely a handful of hours, not enough to deter the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder.
“It’s a good enough distance to where if I were to come here then I could come back home and my parents can come see me play and all that.”